Terrorism by the Definition of United States Citizenship & Immigration Services (USCIS)

Posted by Ramona Kennedy | Oct 09, 2019 | 0 Comments

As often as the term “terrorism” is thrown around in the United States, many people are still unaware of USCIS' definition.

The USCIS definition is important because it would adversely affect one's qualification to receive a US Visa of any category; Immigrant ( Eb1-a, Eb1-b, Eb1-c, Eb2, NIW, Eb3, Eb4, Eb5), non-immigrant visas ( E2, F1, M1, J1) , US Residency Card (Green Card), US Citizenship (US Passport) and may cause deportation at the border ( by Customs and border Protections) or from US soil ( ICE) and/or removal procedure (Immigration Jails or Detention Centers).
In short, USCIS defines a member of a “terrorist organization” as anyone who has engaged or currently engages in terrorism-related activity as defined by the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA). So, this then begs the question, how does the Immigration and Nationality Act define terrorism?
INA defines terrorism-related activity as a rather broad category that may apply to a range of individuals and activities. Traditional connotations of terrorism—bomb threats, gun violence, etc.—is pretty easily understood. The USCIS outlines many activities that can be understood with common knowledge: kidnapping, assassination, hijacking, nuclear, biological, or chemical agents, the use of firearms or other dangerous devices etc.
However, the broad and vague language used in the INA also creates some confusion. This confusion has mainly affected cases outlined by the INA that might not be commonly associated with terrorism. Some activities that might not initially be seen as terrorism revolve around material support. Material support include but are not limited to providing housing, providing funds, and even distributing a terrorist organization's literature.
Understanding the possibility for discrepancies, Congress created a statutory exemption provision through which the Secretaries of Homeland Security and State may exempt individuals from the grounds of inadmissibility. Historically, most exemptions have been granted to groups involved around material support. These situations are typically where victims are forced against their will to help a terrorist organization.
Within the definition of “terrorist organizations”, there are three tiers denoting their characteristics:
• Tier 1: These organizations are also referred to as Foreign Terrorist Organizations (FTOs). They must (1) be foreign organizations, (2) engage in terrorist activity, as defined in section 212 (a)(3)(B) of the INA (8 U.S.C. § 1182(a)(3)(B)), and (3) threaten the security of U.S. nationals or the national security (national defense, foreign relations, or the economic interests) of the United States.
• Tier 2: These organizations are designated terrorist organizations for immigration purposes, by the Secretary of State, in consultation with or upon the request of the Attorney General.
• Tier 3: These people are defined by law as “a group of two or more individuals, whether organized or not, which engages in, or has a subgroup which engages in,” terrorist activity. Because they qualify as terrorist organizations based on their activities alone without undergoing a formal designation process like Tier I and Tier II organizations, Tier III organizations are also known as “undesignated terrorist organizations”.

Terrorist crimes are taken very seriously by the United States, and individuals who fall under this classification are deemed “inadmissible” (not allowed to enter) the United States. Moreover, this label also makes applicants ineligible for most immigration benefits.
This is an immigration legal blog. It is not intended to be used as legal advice.
For further information please contact the law offices of attorney Ramona Kennedy.
Ms. Ramona Kennedy received her Jurisprudence Doctorate in America and is a licensed attorney in California (USA). Ramona Kennedy is a member of American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA). She is licensed to practice in the United States Supreme Court, US Immigration Courts, California federal Courts of Southern & Central District & all California courts.
Ramona Kennedy is fluent in English and Farsi (reading & writing)
Email: [email protected]
Phones: 13106230080 & 19496770063
Telegram & WhatsApp: 19496770063
Office Locations:
Los Angeles (Westwood) Location
-Openheimer tower
10880 Wilshire Blvd, Suite 1101 Los Angeles CA 90024
Phone: 13106230080
Orange County Locations:
-7700 Irvine Center Dr. Suite 800, Irvine, CA 92618
Newport Beach:
-5000 Birch St, Suite 3000 Newport Beach CA 92660
Phone: 19496770063

About the Author

Ramona Kennedy

Attorney Ramona Kennedy is a Compassionate attorney who cares and will fight for you A vivid reader, attorney Kennedy was inspired by her father who passionately attributed to her academic & personal growth. Her Father was a very kind, highly intelligent, disciplined & dedicated family man in un...


There are no comments for this post. Be the first and Add your Comment below.

Leave a Comment

Contact Us Today

Ramona Kennedy Law Offices (Kennedy Law L.C.) is committed to answering your questions about Personal Injury, Civil Litigation, Immigration (including Criminal ) Law in California.

We offer a Free Consultation and we'll gladly discuss your case with you at your convenience. Contact us today to schedule an appointment.